Dartmoor Tick Watch
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|Updates:||10 Apr 10||31 Jul 08||12 Sep 08||1 Feb 10||10 Oct 09||27 Dec 11||21 Aug 08||13 Dec 09||20 Aug 14||10 Aug 09|
Tip - press the browser Reload/Refresh icon when viewing the pages because some pages change frequently and you may be viewing an older version cached in your computer.
Final Report 2009 added to the web site.
The Notice of the talk at The Wharf, Tavistock, has been moved to the News page.
On a light note, I found this tick-related /
public health video on YouTube recently: The
Wood Tick Song
............. and "No" it is not me!
An interesting article about
ticks from Knock News, "Just
a Tick ..." was added 10 Apr 2011.
Electron microscope images
Tick Awareness Factsheet - Dartmoor National Park Authority
Dartmoor CAM - Ticks
More information about ticks
- the forerunner of this web site
Diagram showing the relative size of tick stages
on the human finger nail.
Image reproduced with permission
from Lyme Disease Action
Click here to see a photograph of real-life life-cycle stages - at bottom of this page
The following have moved to the Photos pages:
The IDSA Washington Lyme disease hearings and webcast links have moved to the Disease statistics page.
This project is a private undertaking by a retired scientist to investigate the number, distribution and variety of ticks occurring on and around Dartmoor. If you see ticks in the area in your work or leisure activities, please join in!
Ticks occur across the United Kingdom, from the highlands of Scotland to the centre of London. To see where they have been officially recorded, click on the interactive distribution maps for sheep tick (here) and hedgehog tick (here).
Some ticks harbour disease organisms that can seriously affect human and animal health. The incidence of e.g. Lyme disease, the commonest UK tick-borne disease, appears to be increasing (see here).
The trigger for the project was finding six
ticks on a dog after a day on Shaugh Moor, an area not then indicated for the tick on
the interactive tick maps that are linked below.
|The links below go to the relevant page for each tick on the National Biodiversity Network website|
|Argas vespertilionis||Short-legged bat tick, Blyborough tick, a soft tick||ü|
|Dermacentor reticulatus||Ornate cow tick (meadow tick)||ü|
|Hyalomma aegyptium||Tortoise tick|
Ixodes frontalis includes
Ixodes pari & Ixodes turdi
|Ixodes hexagonus||Hedgehog tick||ü|
|Ixodes lividus||Sand martin tick|
|Ixodes ricinus||Sheep tick, castor bean tick, pasture tick, wood tick||ü|
|Ixodes trianguliceps||Vole tick, shrew tick||ü|
|Ixodes uriae||Seabird tick||ü|
|Ixodes ventalloi *||Rabbit tick, Isles of Scilly, Lundy & Dartmoor margins||ü|
|Ixodes vespertilionis||Long-legged bat tick|
British ticks recorded in the
South Devon area (includes Dartmoor)
* Ixodes ventalloi moved to this table following the identification of one tick
from the Ivybridge area by the Health Protection Agency's Tick Recording Scheme,
pending second official identification.
ü Bites people
|Argas reflexus||Pigeon tick, Canterbury tick, a soft tick||ü|
|Hyalomma marginatum||Two-host tick||ü|
|Haemaphysalis punctata||Red sheep tick, coastal red tick,||ü|
includes Ixodes dorriensmithi
& Ixodes guernseyensis
|Southern rodent tick, in SW||ü|
includes Ixodes arvicolae
|Marsh tick, East Anglia|
includes Ixodes passericola
|Tree-hole tick, in SW|
|Ixodes caledonicus||Northern bird tick|
|Ixodes canisuga||Fox tick, Dog tick in SW|
|Ixodes rothschildi||Puffin tick, in SW|
|Ixodes unicavatus||Cormorant tick - coastal, maybe SW|
|Ornithodorus maritimus||Marine argasid, a soft tick, coasts - Irish||ü|
|Rhipicephalus sanguineus||Kennel tick, brown dog tick||ü|
Other British ticks
Total of twenty-eight species names, some are aggregated together.
ü Bites people - Information from Ticks - A lay guide to a human hazard by George Hendry & Darrel Ho-Yen,
Mercat Press, Edinburgh, 1998, ISBN 1873644 809.
The hyperlinked species names in the tables above link to interactive distribution maps
at the NBN - National Biodiversity Network via the NBN Gateway
The gaps in the maps may reflect the lack of recorders in those areas.
When I started this project, I knew of six cases of Lyme disease among friends or friends of friends. I have recently heard of a dog that died from Lyme disease. I have currently heard of 49 cases among mostly local people.
Tick numbers on Dartmoor may be increasing. This could be due to an interplay of several factors:
milder winters, associated with global climate change
lower mortality of tick eggs in the soil
more ticks hatching from eggs
bracken not dying back as it used to
bracken has a 'head start' the following year
hill farm economics and land management
allowing scrub and bracken to spread
fewer animals on the moor
more ticks looking for alternative hosts
It is said that ticks are increasing everywhere, if this is true then Dartmoor users are perhaps suffering a "multiple whammy" because of the factors above. The risk of tick-borne disease is foreseen as increasing (here).
Further, there are more people using Dartmoor, so the risk of tick infections increases overall. It is reported that perhaps 5% to 30% of ticks are infected and that a tick needs to be attached for 24 hours to pass on any infection.
One problem is that some life cycle stages are small and can be easily overlooked. Also, removing a tick incorrectly, in a manner that stresses it, can induce regurgitation of pathogens into the victim's body thereby causing infection.
The project provides containers to keep ticks in for examination and measurement by microscopy and photography so as to identify types and life cycle stages.
A short data sheet is included, asking date and where and what the tick was found on: this entails 'ticking' tick-boxes!
The results will be freely available via this web site and should be of general interest to any person or body with an interest in Dartmoor. They will also be forwarded to the national Tick Recording Scheme (see more details here).
If you are interested or can help by carrying a small plastic container that weighs nothing and takes up little room, please contact:
Dr Keith Ryan BSc, PhD, CBIOL, FRSB, FRMS
11a Gower Ridge Road
Tel. 01752 405245
email: (clickable image, anti-spam)
Thirty-five years running light and electron microscopes in biological research, 1969-2004. Elected to Membership of the Institute of Biology, 1971, and Fellowship of the Royal Microscopical Society, 1972. Award: Geoffrey Meek Memorial Prize (Roy. Microsc. Soc.) for technical advances in microscopy, 1988. Presentations: 72, Publications: 57.
Adult female common sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus
also called Castor Bean Tick, Pasture Tick & Wood Tick
Total body length - capitulum ("head") plus idiosoma ("body") is 3.5 mm.
The hard scutum (dorsal shield) does not cover the whole body as it does in the male tick,
this allows for body swelling during feeding prior to egg-laying.
"Deer Tick" is reserved for the American Ixodes scapularis
where it is also called the Black-legged Tick
See also: Ticks page on Dartmoor CAM for more information about ticks and tick-borne diseases.
0 to 10 = 1.0 mm. Each small division = 0.1 mm.
Ixodes ricinus mouthparts.
Note the backward-pointing barbs on the central component (the 'hypostome')
between the two lateral palps, this anchors the tick during feeding.
This view is from the dorsal surface.
The relative sizes of stages in the Sheep Tick (Ixodes ricinus) life cycle
Key to the images larva (unfed, 0.75 mm) male (unfed, 2.1 mm) female (engorged, 8.72 mm) nymph (unfed, 1.34 mm) female (unfed, 3.2 mm) nymph (engorged, 3.6 mm)
Composite of photographs taken at the same magnification (x6)
The scale marks on the left and bottom edges are 1 mm divisions on a steel ruler photographed at the same magnification (x6). The on-screen magnification is x17 on an 800x600 pixel screen display.
(Engorged larvae, with 6 legs, can be seen on the Photos page, Ticks 59-64, or click HERE)
All tick visitors recorded by Stat Counter
Web site created 26 June 2008
©2008-2014 Keith Ryan - All rights reserved except for "Results" data
Please email for permissions incl. data spreadsheet (Excel).